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  • Chris McMillan

Feature. From darkness to limelight. The odyssey of a blind people's band


18th November 2023

Feature. From darkness to limelight. The odyssey of a blind people's band

During the day, Yang Zhi works as a blind massage therapist, and at night, he is the lead singer of 'Zhe Er Gen,' a band that enchants the vibrant streets of Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Bathed in the stage lights, passersby often halt in surprise as four out of the five members of this talented band are visually impaired.

"Zhe er gen," also known as fishwort, is a herb native to southwest China. "Much like us blind individuals, 'zhe er gen' thrives in the darkness underground. Also, the plant carries a rich essence of Guizhou," said Chen Changhai, the band's drummer.

Chen, affected by congenital cataracts, has limited sensitivity to light in his eyes. While undergoing training to become a masseur at a vocational school, he also managed to learn to play the guitar with the support of his school.

Yet, the musicians know all too well the challenges of learning the musical instruments due to their limited eyesight.


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